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Centrelink Disability Support Pension for Mental Illness

Community Member

Hey guys

My wife has had SEVERE depression, anxiety and panic attacks for nearly 17 years. The depression is up and down at times but in relation to the anxiety/panic she has been virtually housebound for the past 9 years, unable to leave the house without me in the car with her and unable to go any further than a few blocks from home. She cannot go any further than immediate walking distance to the car and we cannot turn the car off due to fear of not being able to immediately get home to her safe zone without experiencing a severe, debilitating panic attack and we're back to her not leaving the bedroom again. She has taken numerous medications, seen counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, hypnotherapy and doctors over this time and has not been able to beat it.

Introduction over, she is obviously unable to work and cannot fully care for our kids alone so I am forced to be only able to get casual/part-time work while on Newstart allowance (required to be still applying for full-time work) and cannot earn more than $680 per fortnight or I will lose my entire Centrelink payment. Even though there is an extensive catalogue of proof of many years of her condition Centrelink will not approve her for a Disability Support Pension as it is "only mental illness" not an "actual disability" and the only assistance they can offer is $80 per fortnight carer's allowance.

Does anyone have any experience in a similar situation or have any advice they can offer ?

15 Replies 15

Community Member
Are you referring to DES or Centrelink when you say "they" won't let you have appointments via phone? My daughter is linked with APM Employment Services through Centrelink and suffers from severe anxiety and depression. She hasn't actually needed to do any job searching as yet though because she decided to go to TAFE instead once her initial exemption was up. We have found APM great so far and very understanding of her disability. Since she's at TAFE now she no longer has to see APM and Centrelink told me to call the Employment Services National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260 to sort that out. Have you tried this number?

Community Member
good morning sounds what l went through two weeks ago l asked to talk about my issues to the doctor the job provider provided over the phone l did . I went to my appointment to pick up her letter to take to my doctor l was treated terrible l had a panic attack crying and was told ring your doctor now l was bullied my son was there he comes with me . Was so unprofessional l spoke up about my issues with metal health for years and l was treated like that ...... l am reporting them l want no one else to go through that l find it hard to even leave the house at best of times l have a phone interview with centrelink today lets see what happens ..... my doctor has provided a medical cert for myself atm

Hi Jenshe, 

We are really sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience, you should never be treated so poorly because of a mental health conditions (or for any reason!). 

If you feel like talking to someone, or are feeling distressed, you can call us anytime on 1300 22 4636 and chat to one of our wonderful team. 

Thank you for posting here today, please feel to drop back in and let us know how you are feeling. 

Kind regards, 
Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Jenshe, can we ask how did the conversation with Centrelink go, to your satisfaction or not.

Also how long did your doctor give you, sorry for the questions.


Community Member
Sorry, I was referring to the DES, I'm still asking if they can meet me half way to make things easier for myself, a week ago I had an extremely anxious time because I thought I had caught covid, but it was just a common flu. My provider asked if I was sick and I said yes, i was really crook, she then proceeded and said 'Well I booked you another appointment tomorrow morning at 11:00' I told her I was tooo sick to make it in and she was just flat out rude.They really have been nothing but rude.. I thought they would be a bit more understanding, it's just been a roller coaster.

Community Member

My DES is absolutely an angel. I have had an exemption from all tasks, meetings included for 2yrs. Now that exemption is up I still have to attend the office or have a phone call with him once a fortnight but he has marked me as inactive, until my ongoing issues are resolved and I'm ready to return to a max of 15hrs/week.

My history started with long term chronic back pain from a workplace accident 5yrs ago, due to an overcompensating gait now have severe arthritis in one hip. Recently had a fall and tore a muscel in that hip and spent 10 days and hospital and now 7 days at home with visits from physio. Anxiety has been an issue for 5yrs and now suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. Am being looked after by a marvelouse team of people from the hosp and the acute mental health team but they referred me to my GP for ongoing mental health plan, medication and medical exemption for centrelink. GP prescribed anti depressants but would not supply anyexemption or DSP documents as I was being managed by the acute mental health team. I have been advised by Services Australia that the sliding scale for a DSP is hard enough to justify for less then 1 limb lost and almost impossible for mental health. I know of people that have been on DSP for being "unemployable due to educational limitations, but I guess mental health isn't as important as an issue to qualify.